This past March we attended our first rabbit show ever in Fulton, NY. We weren’t sure what to expect, and honestly thought these rabbit show people might be a little stuck up with their fancy show rabbits. But we were pleasantly surprised about how nice everyone was. We made a lot of friends quickly and the best part was they were all happy to show us what to look for in whatever breed of rabbit we were talking to them about.
Now I’ve raised rabbits growing up but we never bred for specific characteristics (coat, body, color, faster meat growth), but David and I want to breed quality rabbits, for pets, or to show (not sure if we will show or not), and fast meat growth. We fell into the Giant Chinchillas and American Chinchillas last fall and just love our girl Chinny Chin who is a Giant Chin.
But our favorite is our French Lop cross Big Momma
While we were fortunate to find some pretty awesome girls we were without any bucks. After looking around for a few months we knew we had to attend a rabbit show to (hopefully) find breeders. As I said we weren’t sure what we would find but decided to drive the 2.5 hours to Fulton’s War Memorial where the show was being held. Walking in it was just a sea of rabbits and their owners camped out in the middle of the large room. Along the sides were about 10 judging tables with posters on the wall behind them with the breeds listed that each judge was in charge of judging.
Some judges were awesome explaining why they did and didn’t like each rabbit they were viewing and then ultimately picking the winners in each category. The basics of showing is that each rabbit has a junior show and a senior show. The juniors can only be so old and under a certain weight. The seniors can be any age but have to be at least a certain weight. The juniors are separated into all the bucks being judged against one another and then all the does being judged against one another. The same goes for the senior class. Then the judge chooses the best overall rabbit, and which ever rabbit they choose they then have to pick the next best rabbit, but it has to be the opposite sex of the one they chose first. For example if a judge picks a doe as their first choice as overall best rabbit (Best of Show), they would have to pick a buck as their second overall best rabbit (Best opposite of Show). Now this is just the basics there are other classes based on weight/age, and colors but I’m not yet versed in those but as I come to understand them more I will keep you updated.
The breeders themselves were amazingly helpful. They encouraged us to touch and feel their rabbits as they explained what to look for and what qualities were desirable and which were not. They encouraged questions and handed out their contact information should we have more questions in the future.
People from NY, PA, Canada, Ohio, and Massachusetts were present and eager to talk. Unfortunately with it being so early in the spring not a lot of people had rabbits to part with. Still we were able to acquire a pair of Giant Chinchillas, an American Chinchilla doe, and and wait for it… a French Lop buck!!
We did look at a number of lionheads and were surprised at the size of a show quality lionhead. About half the size of ours! With that revelation and the fact that there are different hair lengths and you are supposed to breed for color, so you can’t breed certain color rabbits together we are not sure where we will go with our endeavors to have lionheads (I stayed up one night till midnight trying to understand color genetics and it just made my head spin). But I did bring home the cutest little girl (I couldn’t help myself). Her name is Dallas and she just loves to pose and is quite the beggar for sunflower seeds.
So all in all our first trip to an ARBA show was well worth it, not only for the rabbits but also for the information and contacts.
No I’m not done yet with the ARBA shows, I went to another one a couple weeks ago!! It wasn’t as big and there weren’t as many people but I met up with a very nice woman I met on facebook (there are specific facebook groups dedicated to certain breeds of rabbits and is great for finding breeders), and we bought a trio of FRENCH LOPSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!! OMG they are the cutest ones ever. The big boy is a broken chinchilla, and then the two girls are chestnuts. And they are big! They also have pretty awesome personalities. The big boy we let out quite often and he goes hopping around the bunny barn with his big floppy ears and beautiful wide face. The girls get pretty mad if you do not give them their oats and sunflower seeds and will flip their dishes and smash them around the cage; but as soon as you open the door to give them their treats its all nice nice I’m being good and need my treat.
We did meet a few people that weren’t as nice and as talkative as people we had met before, and just keep in mind if you ever go to a rabbit show that there are always really enthusiastic, nice, talkative people and then there are people that just aren’t; but keep talking and trying new breeders or a different show and ask lots and lots of questions. Furthermore there will be some rabbits that will cost a pretty penny, and cheaper rabbits. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, but also that just because someone thinks they are worth that much doesn’t mean you have to pay that or that their rabbits are the best ever. It’s all about what you want to do, how much you know, and what you want to do. Just keep a smile on your face when someone tells you $200 (no I’m not joking), and say that you aren’t at the level yet. And keep asking questions!!